Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No Man Is An Island- Why Asking For Help Can Make You A Happier Person.

     Asking for help is more difficult for some of us than it is for others. Being able to acknowledge that we need help and actually asking for help has been shown to make people happier. Asking for help improves our relationships. When we share our burdens, struggles, and problems we create intimacy and intimacy leads to more satisfying relationships. When we ask for help we communicate to others that while we may not have all the answers, we are willing to seek them out and find solutions to our problems, all of which creates an atmosphere of empowerment. It connects us to other people by making us realize that we are not alone in our struggles. Ultimately, we grow emotionally when we obtain the ability to ask for help. 
     So, why would anyone choose to not ask for help if it can make them happier? One of the biggest obstacles people face is the fear of appearing and being vulnerable. When we are vulnerable we expose ourselves to the possibility of being attacked or harmed either physically or emotionally, in this case the latter. We all try to avoid being harmed at all costs and thankfully most times our perceptions regarding this fear are unfounded. This can be a difficult belief to let go of, especially when our past experiences support it. Others fear their requests will fall on deaf ears and believe no one will help them out in the first place. Not asking reduces their potential for disappointment. Some people do not want to appear as though they are not self-sufficient and/or in control of the situation and this concern inhibits them from reaching out to get the help they need. Despite our reluctance to reach out to others for help it is important to improve our "asking for help" skills. Especially since we are happier when we get the help we need.   

Below are 5 tips to help you get the help you need:

1. Start out with a simple request-if you are concerned about being disappointed by others, begin by asking for help with smaller problems. This will give you practice with asking for help without making you feel vulnerable.

2. Have a realistic expectation of the kind of help you are looking for. People can offer their help but they may not be able to solve your entire problem. 

3. Express what it is you need help with in a clear and concise way.

4. Let others know you are there to help them as well.

5. Give a big "Thank You" to those who have helped you.

 What stops you from asking for help? I would like to hear from you! Please comment below or send me an email at drpauladurlofsky@gmail.com.

This article was written by Paula Durlofsky, Ph.D., a practicing psychologist in Bryn Mawr, PA. To learn more about me and my practice visit my web site at www.drpauladurlofsky.com.


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